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March 22, 2021

The Importance (and Difficulty) of Centralizing Your Healthcare Staffing firm

Operational issues are par for the course for enterprise staffing organizations; the inevitable result of a structure that brings together disparate teams in the pursuit of a single objective.

For enterprise staffing firms in the healthcare space, considerations are many and varied. There are multiple lines of business, a broad spectrum of customers, and an even broader set of employment requirements. These challenges are particularly acute for organizations that haven’t grown organically from the center out, but rather via merger and acquisition activity. In this case, the already disparate becomes even more so.

All this separation means that many organizations find it difficult to centralize. The business processes, technologies, and compliance requirements of each team might technically fall under the enterprise umbrella, but they might as well be owned by different businesses altogether.


Beware the temptation of decentralization

With enterprise organizations constantly tending toward a state of decentralization, it might feel like this is their natural state. But while it might be the path of least resistance – at least initially – it is far from the best one to take.

The flow on effects of decentralization are almost exclusively negative. Systems don’t talk to each other, creating severe inefficiencies. Getting the simplest information from another team can turn into a lengthy quest. Just convincing teams to work on projects together can be a huge challenge, let alone actually delivering said work. Shared services, meanwhile, remain nothing more than a pipedream.

What’s more, internal inconsistency breeds external inconsistency. With each of your teams working in their own way, it becomes impossible to present your clients and candidates with a consistent experience. Your employer brand suffers, and your business suffers with it.

But things don’t necessarily have to be this disjointed. Finding the solution to this problem, as with almost any in our modern world, is a matter of looking to technology.


Technology to the rescue?

While technology may be the solution to decentralization, it can also be viewed as the root cause.

Healthcare staffing organizations, for instance, are faced with a difficult technological challenge. Each business unit, whether travel nursing, per diem, locums, or anything else, has a different set of needs. So unique are these needs that each will often engage a separate vendor to solve their specific challenges, whatever they relate to; credentialing, qualification flows, management tools, payroll, etc.

At this point you might be expecting a sentence like ‘this was an issue… until now’, followed by a slightly overeager sales pitch. But the fact is that there is no silver bullet to the problems faced by decentralized enterprise organizations. Such deep and complex issues are rarely solved in one fell swoop.

There are patches, however. By understanding the client- and candidate-side consequences of decentralization, an enterprise staffing firm can find ways to mitigate them, not through comprehensive centralization, but by bringing a bit of uniformity to the tech and processes that matter most.

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The importance of candidate experience

One area of focus should be the candidate experience.

Let’s say an employee works with an enterprise staffing firm across multiple countries. The main reason that they continue coming back to the well is familiarity. If you don’t offer that, you’ve got little chance of earning their loyalty. This rule doesn’t just apply over borders; if the recruiting, credentialing, onboarding, and payroll teams within a specific office work differently, the overall experience of the candidate will suffer in the same way.

You can begin to solve this issue by bringing uniformity to candidate communications, establishing protocols, and applying standardized tech solutions. This is where the real challenge starts, as the solution you choose will ideally integrate with each team’s unique tech stack.

If starting small proves a difficult job, a more comprehensive (and unfortunately disruptive) centralization strategy may be necessary.


Important things are rarely easy

Staffing firms might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of centralization. And to some degree they’d be right to feel that way – this is neither a quick nor simple job. What it is, however, is important.

As staffing becomes ever more reliant on technology to compete, centralizing and standardizing your business processes and tech stack will become critical. It will also ensure you can deliver the sort of brand consistency that breeds loyal candidates and customers, and that is critical for long-term staffing success.

Your enterprise organization is stronger together. It’s time to centralize.

Topic(s): Healthcare